Career Success

When I started my career, I was under the impression that in the workplace you always get what you deserve. I was naive and wrong. There are plenty of deserving people who never get the credit, promotion, or raises they deserve. Perhaps you can relate. Many years later, I realized the following truth: You don’t [...]

In school, success is simple. Do your homework. Study hard. Get good grades. The better your grades, the greater your success. The path to success is simple and clear. In the working world, the parameters of success are quite different. In school, the more you do, the more you succeed. In the business world, the [...]

Corporate politics has a negative connotation. You’ll often hear phrases like, “They’re being so political.” “I hate engaging in politics.” I used to have this perception as well. I changed my mind when I took a class on Power and Politics at the Stanford GSB. My professor made these simple declarative statements. Anytime there are [...]

The oddest thing has been happening to me over the last 10 years. One out of every three times I visit a healthcare provider, someone at the doctor’s office or hospital asks me if I’m a medical doctor. I’ve had emergency room physicians, triage nurses, physician assistants, and x-ray technicians all ask me the same [...]

A leader leads. A follower follows. The difference between a leader and a follower is the willingness to be wrong. When you’re a follower, you ask the leader what to do. When you do this, you will never be “wrong.” If the leader’s decision turns out to be wrong, your hands are washed of any [...]

In a meeting, you’ll notice the some people’s ideas automatically get taken seriously while others do not. This dynamic occurs due to two reasons — one obvious, one less so. First, some people come up with bad ideas — ideas that are impractical, logically incorrect, or deeply flawed. These ideas should legitimately be discounted. But, [...]

Before I worked at McKinsey, I didn’t really understand why companies in industry really valued former consultants. I knew they did, but didn’t really appreciate why until I worked in industry for some time. The answer is simple. Ex-consultants are able to think through a problem in a way that 99% of people in industry [...]

You can approach a job in one of two ways: 1) Do the minimum expected to not get fired. 2) Do the maximum possible and massively exceed what’s expected. Keep this thought in mind for a few seconds as I introduce a different concept (then integrate the two). There are two ways to think about [...]

In any company, there are broad categories of power. One is formal authority. The other is influence. When you lead an organization of 500 employees, you have formal authority. Your 500 employees will listen to you because you have the power to fire them if they don’t. That’s formal authority. When you’re so deeply respected [...]

In my 20s, my mental orientation was on the here and now. I counted time in months and years. In my 40s, my mental orientation has taken on a much wider timescale. I spend as much time thinking about the past and future as I do the present. In many respects, they are one and [...]

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